Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / Spartan Sibling

Go To

Basic Trope: A sibling or family member who shows little regard for their relative and expects them to look after themselves and "toughen up".

  • Straight: When Butch learns that his younger brother Albert is being bullied, he tells him to "suck it up" and stand up for himself.
  • Exaggerated: Albert's being bullied at school and mistreated by their Abusive Parents. When Butch learns that Albert's unhappy, he beats him up and calls him a wimp who needs to learn to take care of himself.
  • Downplayed:
    • When Butch sees Albert crying about being picked on at school, he silently hands him a tissue and waits impatiently for him to stop crying, then offers to teach him how to throw a punch, demonstrating something between indifference and Tough Love.
    • When Butch sees Albert getting picked on he fends off the bullies, and then scolds him for being a wimp.
  • Justified: Butch grew up having to fend for himself; that's what he knows, so he passes it on accordingly.
  • Inverted: Knight Templar Big Brother
  • Subverted: When Butch hears about the bullies, he immediately sets off to track them down.
  • Double Subverted: Once he finds the bullies, however, he thanks them for helping to teach Albert that he needs to toughen up.
  • Parodied: Butch actively seeks challenges for his little brother, going so far as to recruit several of Albert's peers as bullies, either through bribery or threatening them — "Beat up my little bro or I'll beat you up."
  • Advertisement:
  • Zig Zagged: Butch expects Albert to fend for himself, but fawns over their baby sister Cassie. As she gets older, Cassie actually comes to resent Butch's special treatment and insists that she be on equal footing with the boys, meaning to let her fight her own battles. Butch backs off, and softens a little towards Albert as he realizes just how unfairly he's been treating him. However, their relationship remains awkward, and he slips back into his old habits from time to time.
  • Averted: Butch has a more conventionally supportive role to Albert, or Butch is indifferent for unrelated and perhaps sympathetic reasons.
  • Enforced: The writers either want to establish Butch as an unsympathetic character bordering on an antagonist or they're doing a rather awkward job of handling the stock Aesop 'stand up for yourself.'
  • Advertisement:
  • Lampshaded: "Ah, hello, Butch. I see you're still clinging to the delusion that neglect isn't a form of child abuse."
  • Invoked: Albert has depended on his family advice too much on handling bullies by being passive. When they refuse to take no for an answer and beat them within an inch of his life. Butch Chatisises Albert for not going down fighting.
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied: From his own experiences, Butch knows that everyone needs someone to lean on and that being apathetic to his brother's plight will just mean his brother will develop extreme psychological issues about opening up and trusting other people, in addition to the damage caused by being bullied. So he listens attentively. And teaches Albert Jeet Kune Do.
  • Discussed: "It's not like this is a new development in Butch's personality, so why does Albert still go to him instead of his parents?! They might actually care!" "Yeah. Might. Butch had to get being a douchebag from somewhere, after all."
  • Conversed: "If my brother was like that, I'd punch him. Hell, I'd punch Butch myself if he wasn't a two-dimensional character on a screen."
  • Deconstructed: Rather than being grateful for his brother teaching him to fend for himself, Albert grows resentful and hateful. The two end up estranged, and when Butch gets into trouble later in life, Albert refuses to offer him any assistance.
  • Reconstructed: While he spites his brother Albert for leaving him for the dogs, growing up as a result of toughening up made up not only physically strong but also mentally tougher. He still need to depend on his brother from time to time that the world is a bad place.
  • Played For Laughs: Comedic Sociopathy.
  • Played For Drama: The bullies have been leaving Albert battered and bruised, and have been implying that they've got even worse things in mind for him. Albert desperately turns to his big brother for help only to find him unsympathetic.

You can find the link back to Spartan Sibling yourself... I'm not going to do it for you.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: